Re: [OPE] Hegel's method of abstraction

Date: Sat Sep 04 2010 - 10:20:00 EDT

> Come on Jerry -- I use Stace because it sums up particularly effectively an
> approach to Hegel that has seduced, wrongly I think, many Marxists.
Hi Howard:
Well, the quotation you cited from Stace doesn't even remotely, imo, summarize
an approach by any Hegelian-Marxists that I know of - either alive or dead.
If there has been a seduction, it is by the anti-Hegelians who have been seduced
by snippets from secondary sources about Hegel.
> Continuing right along we will
> also want to have read, won't we, especially for the rational kernel in the
> mystical shell question, Marx's attentions to Aristotle, e.g., The
> Metaphysics (Scott Meikle reminds that Marx was an Aristotelian in
> metaphysics), etc. . . . .
I do find it curious, though, that those who seek to highlight the role that
Aristotle played in Marx's thinking also seek to downplay the Hegelian roots
of much of Marx's method of abstraction.
> You emphasize the interconnectedness of the features of capitalism and
> emphasize that one cannot understand anything unless you understand all the
> dialectical interconnections.
It should be remembered that the presentation is a systematic reconstruction in
thought of an investigation which has already taken place. This represents a
huge difference in perspective between the author and the reader. For the reader,
every new page is a discovery and you don't know the inter-connections, the
inter-relationships, or the ending until the last page. Not so with the author.
> Look, social entities are like living things.
> Just as with a living thing all the parts work together to make and to
> reproduce a whole. It does not follow that you cannot understand anything
> until you've understood everything. Nor does it follow that there are no
> asymmetries. Some things are more important than others. So Marx tries to
> understand those most important things first, capital's differentia
> specifica. Then on that basis we can fill out our understanding of how the
> causal dynamic of its underlying structure manifests itself.

Marx's decision about the starting point of the presentation - what
constituted the economic cell-form of modern society - reflected
that perspective.
Of course there are asymmetries. No one would suggest otherwise (except
perhaps harmonists, including Walrasians). But, is it Marx who "tries
to understand these most important things first"? Again - we should
not confuse what Marx's understanding is with what is published first
in the presentation - which was, after all, different from what even the
writing sequence was. Unless he had a basic idea of how what what
his perspective was and what all the inter-relationships were in the subject
of Book One, how could he have begun the writing with his drafts for
what became Volume III? No doubt, he did in fact refine his perspective
as he continued writing, but he clearly had a basic idea of how it all
fitted together prior to his beginning of the writing. The same was, I
believe, even more the case for Hegel.
In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Sat Sep 4 10:21:26 2010

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